From deductibles to donuts, key terms to know about Medicare Part D

September 21, 2018 (530 words)

[Headline: Info on Medicare Part D’s donut hole]

Medicare Part D, which helps cover prescription drugs, has its own terminology.

Most Part D plans have a coverage gap known as a “donut hole.” In 2019, you enter this donut hole once out-of-pocket costs (including deductibles, copays and coinsurance) for prescription drugs reach $3,820. While in the donut hole, you will pay a percentage of drugs’ cost.

In 2019, once out-of-pocket costs reach $5,100, you exit the donut hole and pay a smaller coinsurance. The donut hole’s days are numbered. Under a 2010 Affordable Care Act provision, the coverage gap has been shrinking. Beginning in 2019, the maximum you will pay in the gap for a branded drug is 25 percent of its cost. For generics, it is 37 percent, but in 2020, that will be reduced to 25 percent.

Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. To learn more, visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com.

This Season the Hygge Design Trend is Back and Bold

September 20, 2018 (651 words)

[Headline: 3 tips for achieving the Danish concept of hygge]

Hygge is a Danish word for the feelings of coziness and contentment often associated with cooler weather. Noa Santos of Homepolish provides three tips so you can master this trend at home.

Declutter

"There’s nothing more satisfying than coming home to a streamlined space," says Santos, who stresses decluttering doesn't mean de-styling. He recommends LG’s line of matte black stainless-steel appliances for a sleek yet cozy vibe.

Invite the outdoors inside

"Artfully arranged flowers and perfectly placed plants help cement your space as an indoor Eden," says Santos. "The positive psychological benefits aren’t too shabby either. Organic materials like wood and leather work like a charm as well."

Gather

It could be a cozy night in for two or a bountiful feast for a crew — togetherness is at the heart of hygge and allows you to show off your home design.

Chemical conundrum: 5 ways to keep pesticides away from your kids

September 19, 2018 (602 words)

As toxic persistent pesticides continue to be used on crops, in landscaping and in consumer products, many Americans are becoming more concerned about the effect of such chemicals on our children. If you’re seeking to minimize such contact, consider the following suggestions:

* Eat organically. Serve your kids certified organic foods produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, antibiotics or chemical fertilizers and preservatives.

* Monitor pesticide use where your children play like sports fields and parks. Most of those areas are treated with chemical cocktails of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. That’s why organic yogurt maker Stonyfield has launched a three-year, half-million-dollar initiative to work with 35 communities across the country in converting outdoor playing fields and parks to organic.

* Seek organic health and beauty products. Conventional beauty products often include petroleum-based ingredients and rely on chemicals for their production. Upon application, those chemicals can be absorbed into your children’s bloodstream.

8 home security hacks recommended by police

September 18, 2018 (427 words)

These tips come from a police home safety evaluation:

1. Change the locks. You never know who has a key.

2. Replace outdoor lightbulbs: Get outdoor flood lights. Make sure the bulbs are working.

3. Place an alarm sign in your yard: Many would-be thieves won't approach a house if they think it has an alarm.

4. Buy an indoor camera: Cameras can capture a suspect in the act.

5. Get out the garden shears: Bushes outside of windows should be below the window line.

6. Bake some cookies: A great way to stay safe is to work together as a neighborhood. Why not start that relationship with a plate of cookies?

7. Protect your neighborhood: Outdoor security cameras, like Flock Safety, can prevent would-be criminals from entering the neighborhood.

8. Ask for a security survey: Officers can assess your home's safety.

For more information, visit www.flocksafety.com/securityhacks.

Making it count: 5 tips for choosing a health plan

September 17, 2018 (648 words)

[Headline: Health insurance enrollment dates vary]

This fall people will have the opportunity to select or switch their health insurance plans for 2019 during “open” or “annual” enrollment.

The dates to keep in mind aren’t the same for everyone and vary depending on your situation:

* For the more than 175 million Americans with employer-provided coverage, many companies set aside a two-week period between September and December when employees can select health benefits for the following year.

* For the more than 60 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

* Health insurance marketplace or individual state exchange open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

For most people, changes made during this time will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

For help navigating open enrollment, visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com for more tips, articles and videos about health insurance and health care topics.

What does the shortfall of truck drivers mean for the economy?

September 13, 2018 (758 words)

There's a shortage of truck drivers in this country, and without them, the economy would grind to a halt. It's ironic, because professional drivers love their jobs. Here's why:

* Independence. It's like being your own boss.

* Freedom. You're out on the open road.

* Flexibility. There isn't just one kind of driving. Want to be seeing the country driving from coast to coast? You can do that. Want to come home to your family every night? You can do that, too.

* Pay. The average salary for a truck driver in the United States ranges from $53,000-$86,000, according to the ATA’s recent Driver Compensation Study. No student debt, either.

* Opportunities. Since the industry is hurting for drivers, it's a job seeker's market out there. Recent grads from driving schools are in high demand, and can pick and choose the job that's right for them.

To learn more, visit www.trucking.org.

Recipes to make your school year lunches fast and delicious

September 13, 2018 (350 words)

[Headline: Recipe: Caprese Pizza Sandwich]

Here's a delicious sandwich idea your children are sure to love.

Ingredients:

1 Arnold Honey Wheat Sandwich Thins Roll

2 tablespoons pizza sauce

4 slices fresh mozzarella

8-10 pepperoni slices

5 basil leaves

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Open Arnold Sandwich Thins Roll and smear the pizza sauce onto the bottom half.

2. Top with fresh mozzarella and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

3. Add pepperoni and basil and place the top on the sandwich. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Considering cataract surgery? Here's what you should know

September 13, 2018 (596 words)

[Headline: Are you eligible for eye exams with no out-of-pocket costs?]

EyeCare America serves U.S. citizens or legal residents who do not belong to an HMO.

To be eligible for the EyeCare America seniors program, an individual:

* Must be age 65 or older, and

* Have last had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist three or more years ago

To be eligible for the EyeCare America glaucoma program, an individual:

* Must not have had an eye exam within the last year, and must be at an increased glaucoma risk due to age, race, and/or family history.

For more information about EyeCare America or to see if you or others are eligible to be matched with one of its volunteer ophthalmologists, visit www.aao.org/eyecareamerica.

4 things you should do to boost your fat IQ

September 13, 2018 (545 words)

[Headline: Boost your fat IQ with these tips]

Here are two things that can help you boost your fat IQ and live a healthier life.

* Recognize your hang-ups. Recognize where your weak spots are and take steps to correct them. Consider a meal delivery service that's both healthy and convenient, pack nutritious snacks in your carry-on or go for a walk when the urge to eat a cookie strikes. Change up your routine once or twice a week.

* Be open and honest with your doctor. If you're serious about managing your weight, you want a primary care doctor who will help uncover your personal obstacles and work with you on a plan to reach your goals. Physicians like those in the MDVIP network have more time to consult patients on diet and exercise and provide the coaching and follow-up they need to be successful.

30-minute Mediterranean meals with grapes

September 12, 2018 (669 words)

[Headline: Fabulous fall food ideas]

With the onset of fall, new schedules and an invigorating pace, eating nourishing meals is an important way to keep up energy levels. With few having the time to devote to cooking an elaborate meal, a collection of delicious and dependable 30-minute recipes for a quick but satisfying meal can be handy. What else keeps things simple? Having fresh staples such as California table grapes on hand helps brighten up any recipe and fuel up after activities. Try Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Grapes, which replaces traditional bulgur with quinoa, or a Mediterranean Pizza using whole-wheat naan instead of a traditional crust. For these recipes and more recipe ideas, visit grapesfromcalifornia.com.

And when it’s time to decorate the table, create a simple but stunning centerpiece with gorgeous black, red and green California grapes. Add fall leaves, mini pumpkins and gourds if desired.

The truth behind food labels

September 12, 2018 (766 words)

[Headline: What food labels really mean]

Everyone has a right to know what is in their food and where it comes from. Look to these certifications to guide your next shopping trip:

* The Fairtrade certification ensures safe and fair working conditions, prohibits child labor and provides farmers and workers with a fairer price or better wages. Fairtrade products originate in developing and least developed countries.

* By choosing MSC Certified seafood with the MSC blue fish label you are supporting independently certified sustainable fisheries.

* The Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured label indicates that the workers who harvested your food are treated with respect, compensated fairly and engaged to identify problems that impact the safety of your food.

* The Non-GMO Project Verified standard is North America’s most rigorous and most reliable standard for GMO avoidance. The best way to avoid consuming GMOs is to look for the butterfly.

For information, visit www.fairtr.de/TruthBehindLabels.

How to properly store summer clothes to avoid a pest infestation

September 12, 2018 (432 words)

Try the following tips from Terminix to best protect your clothing in storage:

1) Keep a close eye on the places where fabric-eating bugs like to hide like carpets, rugs, wall hangings and upholstered furniture. Vacuuming these areas can remove larvae and help prevent an infestation. Be sure to repair torn screens and block cracks under doors to prevent clothes moths from entering.

2) Another key to keeping stored clothes bug-free is to clean them before packing them. Stains can attract hungry pests, so remove any obvious ones such as food or oil before boxing things up. Keep the area where you’re storing your clothing as clean as possible. Vacuum the area and wipe down any shelves and walls.

3) If you find yourself with damaged clothes and an infestation too big to tackle alone, it’s time to contact a specialist. Trained pest control professionals can help remove destructive pests.

Choose wisely: Complete vs. incomplete proteins

September 12, 2018 (556 words)

[Understanding complete vs. incomplete proteins]

Not all proteins are created equal; “incomplete” proteins must be combined with other foods to build the nine essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. Three other facts to know about the differences:

* Animal-derived products such as cottage cheese, meat and eggs are complete proteins in and of themselves and need not be eaten with other foods to release their full nutritional potential.

* In comparison to animal proteins, plant proteins are not always complete and must be combined with other foods to achieve their full nutritional value (the exceptions are edamame, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, chia and hemp).

* Unlike meat, eggs and fish, cottage cheese is a ready-to-eat complete protein that requires no cooking. When you choose ultra-creamy Muuna Cottage Cheese, for example, you get calcium, potassium, Vitamin A probiotics and — in Muuna’s real fruit-filled varieties — Vitamin C.

Give pets the ultimate mealtime experience

September 11, 2018 (313 words)

[Headline: 5 simple tips to make feeding your pet fun]

Try these pet mealtime tips:

1. Create a mealtime routine: Whether they get fed first thing in the morning or as small meals throughout the day, your pooch will quickly catch on.

2. Purchase a puzzle bowl or toy: Puzzle bowls and food dispensing toys stimulate your dog’s mind during mealtime.

3. Provide your dog with a meal that gives them variety: New varieties like Bacon & Steak Flavored dry dog food from Kibbles ‘n Bits offer its signature combination of crunchy kibble and tender bits.

4. Turn mealtime into a dance party: Play a song before each mealtime to signal when it’s time for your dog to eat.

5. Make it a training opportunity: Using commands like “sit” and “wait” before allowing your dog to eat helps them practice impulse control and good manners.

To learn more, visit www.kibblesnbits.com.

Regular eye checkups key to cognitive health

September 10, 2018 (478 words)

Headline: Seize the day: 3 ways baby boomers can kick up their social lives

If you’re an aging baby boomer and sometimes feel a bit left out from the social scene, you’re far from alone.

Consider how these steps could help you expand your social circle, ward off loneliness and embrace everything life has to offer during your golden years.

* Embrace a new hobby. Get online and search for classes, clubs or other group settings in which you can learn and share your interests.

* Optimize transportation options. An inability to drive need not stop you from getting where you want to go. A program called Rides in Sight offered by ITNAmerica offers a free national database of some 15,000 senior transportation providers that can be easily accessed through either internet or phone.

* Volunteer. Generously sharing your time, skills, experience and caring heart with others can be a win-win, making you feel good about yourself and expanding your interactions with others.

Why probiotics are good for your health

September 06, 2018 (518 words)

[Headline: The ins and outs of healthy probiotics]

According to probiotic entrepreneur Heather Holmes, the human body naturally contains trillions of good and bad bacteria that must stay in balance for optimal health.

This balance is fragile and often disrupted. Probiotics are beneficial inside the body and out.

External: Did you know that there are now natural probiotic cleaning solutions to keep bad bacteria in check? P2 Probiotic Power is a line of food-grade, non-GMO, chemical-free probiotic products that create a barrier against bad bacteria.

Internal: Internal probiotics help send food through your gut, absorb nutrients and protect the body against potentially harmful invasions by bad bacteria. These beneficial probiotic strains can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and pickles, to name a few.

For more information about probiotics for your body, visit http://www.rephresh.com/.

3 common triggers for elevated vaginal pH and why it matters

September 06, 2018 (360 words)

[Headline: 3 things that change your vaginal pH balance]

Many women do not realize the vagina is an ecosystem that requires a balanced environment to remain healthy; and events like menstruation, sex and hormonal changes can throw off that balance.

Women experience many of the triggers for elevated pH on a regular basis:

1. Period — The pH of blood is 7.4, which is much more alkaline than normal vaginal pH (3.5 to 4.5), which can lead to elevated vaginal pH.

2. Sex — Semen has a pH of 7.1 to 8 and can increase vaginal pH.

3. Hormones — Pregnancy, menopause and your normal monthly cycle can cause hormone changes that alter vaginal pH.

RepHresh Vaginal Gel, available without a prescription, is one option designed to bond to the vaginal walls and provide support to maintain healthy vaginal pH and eliminate odor.

Uncommon - but important - baby safety steps

September 05, 2018 (572 words)
[Headline: Car safety and air quality for little ones]
You know it's important to install and use the right car seat, buckling your child in properly every time you hit the road. But there’s another car safety step that parents should consider — improving your vehicle’s air quality.
The California Air Resources Board reports that the air inside a car, truck or SUV can be up to six times dirtier than air outside, because cars are constantly surrounded by emissions from other vehicles. What's more, studies show that babies exposed to pollution in the first year of life are more likely to develop allergies.
The FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filter, which removes up to 98 percent of dirt, dust and allergens from the air passing through a car’s A/C and heating system, is quick and easy to install. It’s an easy way to help everyone breathe easier — babies and the parents who want to keep them safe.

Your eyes as you age: Tips to help reduce the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration

September 05, 2018 (428 words)

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people age 50 and older. While there is no cure, take these steps to help reduce the risk of AMD progression:

* Lead a healthy lifestyle. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Adopt a diet rich in green vegetables and healthy fats. Regular exercise can also help maintain eye health.

* See your eye doctor. Your doctor may be able to identify early symptoms of AMD and determine a path forward to help you reduce the risk of progression. If you have AMD, regularly check your eyes with an Amsler grid tool that helps track incremental vision changes.

* Address symptoms immediately. Early detection is important — as AMD progresses, straight lines may appear distorted, central vision may look dark, blurry or white, or changes in color perception may become noticeable.

Visit www.WhyEyeFight.com to learn more.

PVN.0053.USA.18

New home? 6 steps for preventing pests from moving in

August 29, 2018 (390 words)

Moving into a new home is chaotic. With a few tips from Terminix, you can ensure no unexpected pests move in with you.

* Reduce standing water in sources like pots and tires, and empty your bird bath once a week.

* Check the exterior for openings around doors, windows and utility penetrations. Seal improper openings.

* Note tree limbs overhanging your roof and shrubbery or mulch close to the foundation. Having them touch your house makes it easier for pests to enter.

* Check for moisture issues. Leaky roofs, plumbing and seals should be fixed.

* Look for insufficient screening around plumbing or drains in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room to ensure openings are properly covered to keep out silverfish, spiders, ants or cockroaches.

* For any pest problem too big to tackle alone, call in a pest control professional to help.

7 healthy, kid-approved lunchbox ideas

August 29, 2018 (694 words)

[Headline: 5 healthy kid-approved lunchbox ideas]

You are what you eat, so it's important to choose your children's lunch foods wisely. These five ideas are wholesome and fun for kids of all ages.

Breakfast for lunch: Pack whole grain cereal with a side of milk, or muffins with secret healthy ingredients like fruit or shredded veggies.

Protein: Try hard-boiling eggs or scrambling and packing in an insulated container. Other foods high in protein include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, beans and many nuts.

Freeze-dried fruit: Crispy Fruit freeze-dried fruit comes in many single-serving varieties to keep lunchboxes interesting, including banana, apple, pineapple and pear.

Bread alternatives: Instead of bread, use whole-grain tortillas to create wraps, or, whole-wheat waffles as the sandwich ends and fill with peanut butter and banana.

Dip: A little yogurt will encourage kids to gobble up fruits, and low-fat salad dressing or hummus is the perfect pairing for veggie straws.

Most people are eating the right amount of salt

August 29, 2018 (310 words)

More research seems to contradict the notion that we eat too much salt. The latest study appeared in The Lancet medical journal. It found that for the vast majority of people there is no health benefit from a low-salt diet and no harm from the average salt consumption of most people.

The lead scientist working on this study, Dr. Andrew Mente of McMaster University, worked with researchers to monitor the salt intake and health of over 95,000 individuals in 18 countries for an average of eight years. They also monitored associations between sodium and potassium intake and blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and mortality.

They found most people around the world already eat in the healthy range of sodium consumption — between 3,000 and 5,000 mg per day — and that people who consumed salt at the higher end of that range had better health outcomes and fewer incidences of heart attacks.

Don't have time to walk and meditate? Try them together

August 28, 2018 (398 words)

[Headline: Walking meditation – Why you should give it a try]

Walking meditation can offer multiple benefits without much of an investment in time or money.

To get started, consider these steps from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:

* Find a place that’s relatively free of distractions and where other people won’t make you self-conscious. Your path — whether it’s a hiking trail or a little-used hallway — doesn’t have to be long; the whole point is to go nowhere, slowly — and safely.

* Relax your hands and arms, stand up straight and take a few deep breaths. Take 10 to 15 small, deliberate steps, counting them in your head. Be mindful of the way your feet feel as they rise and land on the ground, weight shifting from heel to toes.

* If your mind wanders, try to push out extraneous thoughts and focus on your breathing or the sights and sounds of your surroundings.

Pause for a breath, turn around and start again.

A vacation deprivation crisis: Americans are not using their PTO

August 28, 2018 (626 words)

Here are some ways you can get around your objections to taking PTO and relax, refresh and revive.

* Just take one day. You don't have to take an entire week off. Starting small and giving yourself a long weekend can do a lot to recharge your batteries.

* Start a PTO savings account. If money is the reason you haven't been using your PTO, sock $25 away each week. In a year, you'll have a PTO stash that you can use to take a vacation.

* Plan ahead. Give your manager ample notice by scheduling PTO well ahead of time, especially if you're angling for days off around a popular holiday. You'll beat your co-workers to the punch.

Landshark Lager partnered with Project: Time Off to raise awareness about the fact that Americans aren't using the PTO days they've earned. For more information, visit the Landshark Lager Facebook page or Instagram.

Why kids have a shortage of free time and what parents can do about it

August 28, 2018 (632 words)

[Headline: The importance of unstructured play time]

Seventy-two percent of parents feel that their kids have less unstructured time when compared to their own childhoods, according to a recent survey commissioned by GoGo squeeZ.

What people often don’t realize is play has a purpose,” says Dr. Robert Murray, pediatrician, author and child health expert, “and parents aren’t always aware of its full benefits.”

Why so little free time? Eighty-five percent of parents believe sports and activities lead to success, according to the survey.

"It’s the social and emotional interactions that are the important benefit, not the sport itself,” says Murray.

Try these strategies: Make errands interactive; keep toys that inspire creative play; let kids explore; grant kids control of their free time and set an example by making your own free time!

To learn how you can give your children 30 more minutes of #BEtime, visit BEtime.org.

Remake your bathroom with these luxurious hotel-inspired trends

August 28, 2018 (553 words)

[Headline: 5 luxury hotel trends to incorporate in your bathroom]

Adding luxury features to your bathroom will inspire a transformative self-care routine.

Color: To induce relaxation, choose colors that call back to your favorite natural scenes, like seafoam green, pale blue or warm sandstone.

Lighting: A sparkly chandelier or bold pendant light can give the bath a luxurious feel.

Products: Don’t be afraid to upgrade by choosing pieces that appeal to the eye and take pampering to the next level. TOTO’s line of NEOREST NX Intelligent Toilets offer an integrated personal cleaning system and have technologies that automatically keep the bowl fresh and clean without harsh chemicals. Visit totousa.com.

Warmth: Install a bathroom fireplace so you can sit back and bask in the warmth and flickering light.

Greenery: Choose plants that thrive on humidity and filtered light. Orchids and aloe vera are good options to try.

3 tips to make meal prep into an enjoyable family activity

August 27, 2018 (676 words)

[Headline: Recipe: Chicken Veggie Skewers]

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 and 1/2 peppers (yellow, red and green), chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add bell peppers and chicken and, using tongs, toss until coated. Thread chicken and bell peppers onto skewers. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Add skewers to grill pan and cook until chicken is cooked through and peppers are tender, 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan.

Plate skewers and serve with Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese. For additional ideas and inspiration for cooking with kids, visit Nestle's Balance Your Plate.

Opioid crisis illuminates the need to see pain medicine specialists

August 27, 2018 (663 words)

The opioid crisis is changing the way physicians treat pain responsibly. The American Society of Anesthesiologists offers the following reasons your physician may limit or avoid prescribing opioids:

Other options: While opioids can provide general pain relief for a short while, there are more effective methods for treating pain in a specific site, including nerve blocks or stimulation therapy; and people can begin tolerating the dose, and may need higher doses for the same relief.

Side effects and risks: Addiction and dependence are major worries. Other side effects include: sleepiness; constipation; depression; life-threatening shallow breathing; and slowed heart rate, a possible sign of an overdose.

It’s the law: Legislators have enacted rules and regulations in an attempt to stem the opioid crisis. There are many options for managing pain, like targeted therapies, non-addictive medications, high-tech methods and alternative treatments. Learn more about non-opioid options for managing pain at http://www.asahq.org.

What does the color of your home reveal about you?

August 22, 2018 (559 words)

Your home’s exterior gives off a powerful first impression. A recent poll conducted by vinyl siding brand Mastic by Ply Gem showed that only half of homeowners say their home’s exterior reflects their personality. This is surprising since 81 percent say a home’s exterior shapes their impression of the homeowner.

The following personality profiles can help homeowners select the perfect color:

* Blue = Calm, cool, collected: Fifty-five percent believe that blue has the most positive impact on their mood.

* Neutral = Safe, certain, dependable: Neutrals are the norm when it comes to exterior color preferences. Fifty-three percent of Americans would choose neutral colors such as beige, white, or gray for the exterior of their dream home.

* Bold = Brave, confident: Fifty-five percent of Americans say homes with bold colors probably belong to people with bold personalities.

7 surprising benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles

August 21, 2018 (651 words)

[Headline: 7 surprising benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles]

Jigsaw puzzles ...

Exercise the left and right sides of your brain at once

It's a mental workout that improves problem-solving skills.

Improve your short-term memory

It reinforces connections between brain cells.

Improve your visual-spatial reasoning

This helps with driving a car, packing, using a map.

Are great meditation tools and stress relievers

Focusing on one image for a long period is meditation.

Are a great way to connect with family

A jigsaw puzzle on a table invites the whole family to participate.

Are great for some needed alone time

Perfect for people seeking a quiet break.

Help you live longer, better

Puzzling wards off the plaque that is the marker of Alzheimer's.

Ravensburger recently partnered with Target to offer a new line of 500- and 1,000-piece puzzles because anyone and everyone can benefit from puzzling.

Home sweet home? 6 safety tips when moving with kids

August 20, 2018 (547 words)

[Headline: Home sweet home? 3 safety tips when moving with kids]

For parents of young children, the process of moving to a new home calls for a plan to ensure potential safety hazards are remediated. Consider these tips as such.

* Be proactive about precautions. Evaluate potential safety hazards before the move even begins, buying important tools and fixtures so you can make adjustments early rather than retrofitting.

* Switch all your blinds to the cordless variety. The string-like attachments that adjust old-style blinds are proven strangulation hazards. Replace them immediately with the cordless varieties available at major U.S. retailers. Seek the Best for Kids(TM) label that certifies products best suited for young children, finding more info at Windowcoverings.org.

* Separate and secure household chemicals. Deliberately pack anything that could hurt your kids into marked boxes that travel with you in your car instead of your moving van. Upon arrival, keep them sealed until you’re ready to unpack them into locked cabinets.

Good gut gone bad: The C. diff Invasion

August 16, 2018 (467 words)

[Headline: Good gut gone bad: The C. diff invasion]

Americans may be unaware of a serious infection known as C. diff that can lead to a life-threatening form of diarrhea. Half a million infections occur in the U.S. each year, causing the deaths of at least 20,000 people annually. The infection can become recurrent for some patients, which requires constant use of antibiotics to control the symptoms. What you need to know:

* The infection can occur when antibiotics cause an intestinal imbalance of “good” and “bad” microbes that leads to an overgrowth of the bacteria.

* C. diff is most common among people 65 and older and those with conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics.

* C. diff infection can become recurrent, preventing patients from living normal, healthy lives.

Those diagnosed with C. diff may consider participating in a clinical trial (https://rebiotix.com/punchcd3/clinical-trial-page/) furthering development of the RBX2660 drug, which is under investigation for prevention of recurrent C. diff infection.

A child's wish to help save lives

August 15, 2018 (410 words)

A year ago, 15-year-old Jack was unable to go outside because of his blood disorder. A bone marrow donation was his only hope, but matches sometimes aren’t easy to find. So, Jack waited patiently — nine months — until a match was found.

Now Jack wants to help others who are waiting — to pay it forward. When volunteers from Make-A-Wish, which grants life-changing wishes for children battling critical illnesses, met with Jack to identify his wish, he wanted to help others like him. He used his wish to be a bone marrow donation spokesperson and record a PSA encouraging others to sign up to Be The Match.

Jack’s goal is to secure 430 new registrants to help save a life just like his was saved. For every 430 people who sign up through Be The Match (join.bethematch.org/jack), one goes on to be a donor. Visit wish.org to learn more.

6 simple tips to prevent a fall

August 15, 2018 (459 words)

[Headline: 6 steps to fall prevention]

Every 11 seconds an older adult is seen in an emergency room for a fall-related injury, reports National Council On Aging. To prevent falls, follow these six simple steps.

Step 1: Find a good balance and exercise program. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for program information.

Step 2: Talk to your health care provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling.

Step 3: Review medications with the pharmacist. Take medications as prescribed and know the risks.

Step 4: Get vision and hearing checked annually. Update vision prescriptions and take measures to correct hearing loss.

Step 5: Secure your home: Remove tripping hazards like loose rugs or free cords and keep areas well lit.

Step 6: Talk with family members. Enlist their help as needed to secure your home and keep you safe.

New technology promotes healthy aging in place

August 15, 2018 (578 words)

From simple wearable devices to high-tech monitoring systems, gadgets are helping aging boomers stay independent. Here’s a few of the innovative technologies that are revolutionizing aging.

Digital solutions for staying in touch: Seniors can be left out of the family communications loop. Filling that gap are products like GrandPad, powered by Consumer Cellular, a touchscreen-based tablet with simplified apps.

Fall alerts can be lifesavers: For seniors, wearable devices that monitor and track health can summon help in a range of emergency situations.

Smarter access to healthcare and medications: Video consultations offered by many providers can help seniors who can’t come in for an appointment. In addition, automated pill counters can help with following medication regimens.

In-home tracking for safety: Sensors can be placed in multiple discreet locations, like doors, cabinets, windows or beds, to track movement around the house and report back to a caretaker or family member.

Cancer care costs on the rise: How to get help

August 13, 2018 (467 words)

[Headline: Cancer care costs on the rise: How to get help]

Cancer patients face increasing out-of-pocket costs for their treatment, which adds to the stress of a cancer diagnosis and living with a disease.

There are a number of ways to find financial assistance for expenses related to treatment, such as:

* Negotiate with healthcare providers to reduce medical fees or adjust the payment schedule in cases of financial hardship.

* Apply for grants and financial aid from employers, labor unions, community service agencies, religious and fraternal groups or organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

* Form a committee of volunteers to conduct fundraising events, sales, raffles, canister collections or letter-writing and publicity campaigns.

* Cash in benefits from life insurance policies through life insurance loans or accelerated benefits, which can provide cash payouts to seriously ill policyholders.

5 reasons to snack on strawberries

August 10, 2018 (400 words)

Naturally sweet, yet low in sugar

One serving of eight strawberries has only 50 calories and eight grams of sugar.

Bursting with nutrients

Filled with antioxidants, potassium and fiber, strawberries don’t stop there: A single serving has more vitamin C than an orange.

Helps with cognitive function

According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, eating strawberries at least twice per week may delay cognitive aging by two and a half years, which includes improvement in memory and motor function.

Snacks anyone will love

Both kids and adults love a good strawberry snack. From quick and kid-friendly to show-stopping hors d'oeuvres, visit CaliforniaStrawberries.com for snacks perfect for all ages and occasions.

Great for diabetes management

The nutrient-packed berries are a great option for those with diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association lists strawberries as a top superfood for diabetic meal plans.

Easy entertaining and recipe tips from celebrity chef Katie Lee

August 10, 2018 (743 words)

[Headline: Easy entertaining and recipe tips from celebrity chef Katie Lee]

TV chef and cookbook author Katie Lee offers these tips for easy entertaining.

Consider a buffet or family-style menu

Try veggie burgers or shrimp rolls with new Sara Lee Artesano Bakery Buns and Rolls to kick the flavor up a notch. Have people "Create Your Own" (CYO) with a buffet of toppings.

Prepare your side dishes ahead of time

Any kind of grain salad, such as a quinoa or farro, is an easy, go-to choice.

Hors d’oeuvres are a must

Easy options are cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, a cheese plate or a tasty dip.

Cool off with cocktails

Set up a bar area where guests can make their own drinks. Be sure to include non-alcoholic choices.

Smart grilling options

Fresh fish or veggie burgers lighten up the grill.

For recipe tips, visit saraleebread.com.

Do you know how that new supplement will affect your existing medication regimen?

August 06, 2018 (582 words)

Did you know if you are taking medications for an existing condition, the supplements you mix with these medications could actually be hindering your overall health instead of helping it? It's an all-too-common occurrence and one many people are never aware of doing.

"Nutrient deficiencies and diagnosed health conditions often require the use of vitamins and prescription medications, but they can interact. It is critical that users understand potential interactions," said Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer, Cleveland Clinic and Persona medical advisory board chair.

Research shows that 38 percent of survey participants did not know vitamins and supplements can impact the effectiveness of their medications. Forty-five percent assumed they didn’t need to tell their doctor before they started taking a new vitamin or supplement.

Before taking any supplement, be sure to seek professional advice on how it will affect you and the medications you may be taking.

CDC: How to navigate vaccinations for your family

August 02, 2018 (641 words)

Today’s technology provides so much information that learning the essentials about an important topic like vaccination can be overwhelming.

Vaccines play a vital role in keeping you and your family members healthy, and when you make sure everyone receives the recommended vaccines at the right ages, you will be helping to protect them before they are exposed to serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new interactive guide (cdc.gov/vaccines/growing) to help navigate the vaccines recommended at each stage of life. This resource teaches families about vaccine-preventable diseases — like flu, whooping cough and HPV cancers — and highlights the recommended timing for key immunizations.

5 hazards on the road to the Medicare Part D plan that's best for you

August 01, 2018 (468 words)

[Headline: 3 hazards on the road to the Medicare Part D Plan that’s best for you]

When evaluating your Medicare prescription drug plan (“Part D plan”) coverage, avoid these common hazards.

Hazard 1: Failing to check if or how your drugs are covered

Your Medicare Part D plan will include a list of covered drugs. Check if each of your prescribed drugs is on the list and how it is being covered by the plan you’re considering. Remember to check the copay.

Hazard 2: Selecting a plan without checking the stars

Remember to check each plan’s Star Ratings. Plans are ranked from one to five stars based on criteria set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Hazard 3: Detouring from your roadmap

By staying informed and doing your research early, you can prepare and follow a roadmap to help you reach the Medicare Part D plan that’s right for you!

Learn more before Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 to Dec. 7) at roadmapformedicare.com.

Keep your family safe: Get rid of unused prescription opioids

August 01, 2018 (448 words)

Want to help keep your family and community safe? Get rid of any unused prescription opioids that may be in cabinets, drawers, or anywhere else you store medicine.

Prescription opioids are powerful, pain-reducing medicines. You can find them in pill forms, syrups or even prescription patches. Commonly prescribed opioids include hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone.

But they also can cause overdose deaths. Every day, 115 Americans die from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Make sure your medicines do not get into the wrong hands. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, half of people who misused prescription opioids got them from a friend or family member.

Disposing of unused medicines can help turn the tide on the devastating opioid crisis affecting so many American families. Proper disposal of unused prescription opioids saves lives. Learn more at www.fda.gov/DrugDisposal.

5 ways to beat the heat this summer

July 31, 2018 (640 words)

[Headline: Tips to stay cool this summer]

Here are three ways to beat the heat now before the heat beats you.

* Make your bed the cool place to be. Apply ice packs — preferably soft gels — on top of your mattress and beneath the sheets, placing them in the areas where your neck, lower back and legs are located when you sleep.

* Invest in the right air conditioner. The LG DUAL Inverter Compressor Window Air Conditioner constantly adjusts its speed — rather than turning on and off — to maintain the desired air temperature all at a reduced energy usage.

* Cool yourself down effectively. When you’re feeling hot, the first thing you want to do is apply a cool towel to your forehead. It feels good, of course, but for maximum impact, applying this cooling agent to pulse points like your wrist or neck is actually a far better alternative.

Age-related macular degeneration: What you should know

July 31, 2018 (471 words)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people over age 65, according to the CDC.

AMD causes damage to the macula, the small spot on the retina that allows people to see clearly and to see things straight ahead of them.

While AMD cannot be prevented, you can take steps that may slow the progression of the condition, says Dr. Efrem Castillo, UnitedHealthcare chief medical officer. Incorporating healthy lifestyle choices like quitting smoking; eating leafy, green vegetables and maintaining a good blood pressure and cholesterol level can help.

Another crucial step is to get dilated eye exams and vision tests from your eye health professional to diagnose the condition and track any progression.

Pollution protection: 5 easy tips for combating the environment's effects on skin

July 30, 2018 (589 words)

[Headline: Easy tips to care for your skin]

Properly caring for your skin each day — and countering the possible effects of pollution — is quick, affordable and easy. So why do so many Americans forgo that step?

Consider these tips for a daily skincare routine to nourish and protect your skin.

1) Use an effective sunscreen. Choose products with an SPF of 30 or higher, that are water resistant and provide broad-spectrum coverage.

2) Wash twice daily with quality cleanser. Choosing the right product is key. Fortunately, dermatologists have developed an expansive cleanser line for CeraVe that thoroughly removes pollutants, dirt and oil, leaving your face hydrated and protected from daily toxins and pollutants without irritation or drying.

3) Eat an optimal diet. Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry advises a diet rich in antioxidants to protect your skin. Diets high in processed or refined sugars, carbohydrates and unhealthy fats may promote skin aging.

The proactive parent's checklist for back-to-school success

July 30, 2018 (628 words)

[Headline: 4 steps to a healthy school year]

The new school year is quickly approaching. Get a head start by tackling these important steps as recommended by the experts from the Mayo Clinic Children's Center.

Anxiety: Talk to kids about their worries with empathy and understanding. Prepare them by visiting the school and meeting teachers.

Bullying: Learn about what happened and discuss how to respond if it happens again in the new school year (for example, walk away or get help from a trusted adult or peer).

Vaccinations: Contact your family physician or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's online registry to stay informed of the recommended school admission vaccine requirements.

Routines: Build a routine so children can adjust properly. This means structuring activities so kids know what to expect, including healthy meals at the same time each day and a regular bedtime.

The 4 greatest salt myths

July 27, 2018 (458 words)

[Headline: The greatest salt myths]

After more than a century of debate over the role of salt in human health, the overwhelming medical evidence makes it clear that reducing salt in the U.S. diet may pose a greater risk to many consumers. Consider these common myths about salt:

Myth 1: Americans eat more salt than ever

Military records from the early 1800s up to WWII show that the average soldier was consuming between 6,000 and 6,800 mg/day of sodium. We eat about half of that today, and that number has remained consistent since WWII.

Myth 2: Salt consumption leads to hypertension

According to Dr. Jan Staessen, head of the Research Unit on Hypertension at the University of Leuven in Belgium, “The evidence relating blood pressure to salt intake does not translate into an increased risk of incident hypertension in people consuming a usual salt diet.”

5 tips to amp up the natural benefits of your yard

July 26, 2018 (556 words)

[Headline: 5 tips that will enhance the benefits of having a lawn]

Your healthy yard is more than what meets the eyes. Healthy lawn and landscape filter the air of pollutants and prevent unwanted runoff. Simply looking at trees and plants can reduce stress. Inspired? Here are some tips to make your yard look even better.

* Raising the deck height of your lawn mower is one simple thing you can do right now to improve your green space.

* Professionals recommend to not mow right after it rains because mowing wet grass will cause clumping and ruts.

* Let the clippings fall back on the lawn to add a natural source of nitrogen back to the soil.

* Enhance your landscape with native flowers, shrubs and trees. These require less water than exotic species and are more resilient to your region’s weather patterns and insects.

* Work with a professional to get your lawn and landscape in top condition. To find one in your area, visit LoveYourLandscape.org.

Your summertime prescription: Sweet cherries

July 25, 2018 (699 words)

A new review of nearly 30 published studies confirms that sweet cherries can help tackle some big wellness issues. Sweet cherries can play a part in improving these five common concerns:

1. Studies have shown that eating sweet cherries can increase antioxidant capacity and reduce oxidative stress, bringing the body back into a healthy balance.

2. Research shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of cherries can have the same effect as ibuprofen.

3. When eating sweet cherries was combined with prescribed medicine, specifically allopurinol, the risk of a gout attack was 75 percent lower.

4. A good night’s sleep is essential to functioning at top form during the day. With sweet cherries, you have a reliable source of tryptophan, serotonin and melatonin.

5. Studies point to a link between the consumption of sweet cherries and a lowering of blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic measures.

4 ways gardening is good for you

July 24, 2018 (534 words)

[Headline: 4 ways gardening is good for you]

In this digital world, there's an app for just about everything. People are interacting with technology more than they do with the world. But there's a cure for tech overload: Gardening.

Here are four surprising ways gardening is good for you.

Locally grown food is healthy. What's more local than your own backyard? Locally grown veggies are picked at the peak of ripeness, full of flavor and freshness.

You'll have less anxiety. Research shows gardening creates compassion toward others, and less worry and depression. Wave Petunias and Cool Wave Pansies are perfect for beginners!

It counts as a workout. Whether you’re pulling weeds or lifting your Wave petunia planters, research shows you'll burn 200-400 calories per hour!

Gardening combats loneliness. Gardening gives us a sense of community. Start a weekly cooking group with friends using ingredients from your gardens! Get started with one of Burpee's favorite recipes at www.burpeehomegardens.com.

Plan, be positive, unplug: 5 ways to make family meals more enjoyable

July 19, 2018 (552 words)

[Headline: Ways to make family meals more enjoyable]

With our busy lifestyles, finding time to meet with our families to enjoy meals can be a major challenge. Some tips from actress, host, food lover and mom of two Courtney Lopez:

1. Focus on family. “No phones at the table. Mealtime should be a time to unplug and focus on loved ones.”

2. Make it a team effort. “Getting kids involved in the kitchen could help develop healthy habits for the future, plus it’s more fun when everyone is involved. Give them simple, safe tasks to keep them busy."

3. Try new things. “Comfort food can be a great thing, but so can the sense of adventure that comes from trying new dishes. Eggland’s Best eggs can be incorporated into an endless spectrum of family-friendly recipes, like a Southwestern Quinoa and Egg Breakfast Bowl. EB eggs are the only eggs good enough for my family meals with superior nutrition like 25 percent less saturated fat and 6 times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs."

5 fantastic energy-boosting snacks for fitness success

July 13, 2018 (573 words)

[Headline: Recipe: Quick Protein Power Chiquita Banana Smoothie]

This tasty energy-boosting smoothie makes one serving. It's great when you need endurance for running a marathon or running around town all day.

Ingredients:

1 whole Chiquita Banana, sliced

1.5 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt

1/8 cup fresh pineapple juice

1/4 cup orange juice

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Enjoy!

Watch what you heat: 5 kitchen safety tips

July 12, 2018 (463 words)

Cooking equipment is the top cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Follow the below tips to stay safe in the kitchen.

1) Properly equip your home. Install functioning smoke alarms throughout your home.

2) Keep an eye on your food. Staying in the kitchen while cooking is key to preventing oven or stovetop fires.

3) Clean your appliances. Keep appliances clean of grease and food debris that could potentially cause a fire.

4) Clear off kitchen countertops. Keep your countertops clean and clear of flammable objects.

5) Be prepared when disaster strikes. Over 70 percent of fire extinguisher owners say that they would not feel very comfortable actually operating one. The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray features a lightweight spray-can design that has no pins or levers — making it easy to use.

Seniors' Health Rankings: Where does your state rank?

July 10, 2018 (451 words)

The United Health Foundation’s 2018 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report dives into how where you live influences your health. The sixth annual report finds older adults in rural areas often experience poorer health outcomes and receive fewer preventive services than those in urban and suburban environments.

Health determinants are grouped into four areas: behaviors, community/environment, policy and clinical care. Utah was the top-ranked state for health and behavioral measures, ranking in the top five for smoking, drinking and physical activity categories. Pennsylvania made the most progress in behavioral measures, improving from 50 to 21 and seeing the largest increase in score.

Several states’ rankings moved five or more places since 2017. Iowa and Pennsylvania made the most progress, improving nine spots, while Arizona and Washington experienced the largest declines, dropping eight and seven ranks, respectively.

Visit www.AmericasHealthRankings.org to read the full report and explore how your state stacks up.

Don't fear anesthesia when your child needs surgery

July 09, 2018 (618 words)

Anesthesia ensures your child can safely receive life-saving or corrective surgery while managing pain and discomfort. The American Society of Anesthesiologists offers the following guidance for parents:

1. Don’t delay or avoid surgery: Work with your child’s surgeon and other physicians to determine if surgery is the right choice.

2. Talk to the physician anesthesiologist: Highly trained to ensure safe, high-quality care, they will monitor your child so he or she stays warm, gets enough oxygen, has stable blood pressure and receives necessary fluids. Questions to ask include:

* How can I ensure my child has a successful surgery?

* How can I help my child prepare?

* Is anesthesia safe for my child?

3. Rest assured that limited exposure is considered safe: Experts note a single, relatively short exposure to anesthesia and surgery is unlikely to have negative effects on behavior or learning.

For more information, visit asahq.org/kidschecklist.

Got company? 5 quick and easy refreshments for summer guests

July 04, 2018 (467 words)

[Headline: Got company? 3 quick and easy refreshments for summer guests]

As you prepare to entertain during these long, lazy days of summer, it’s convenient to keep on hand easy-to-prepare refreshments your guests can snack on as they enjoy the balmy breezes. Consider these suggestions:

Blender drinks: Stockpile a selection of frozen juices and fruits so you can blend up icy-cold cocktails — either the adult or kiddie versions — on demand.

Guacamole and chips: Whipping up everyone’s favorite avocado dip is nearly effortless with Simply Organic’s Guacamole Mixes. You need only add two ripe, peeled, pitted avocados (organic is best) and break open a bag of tortilla chips.

Deviled eggs: When you keep hard-boiled eggs on hand, these classics are easy to prepare. Suggested fillings: mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, pickle relish, hot sauce, bacon bits, blue cheese, chives, pickles, mango chutney, pesto, pickled okra or crumbled potato chips.

Remodeling to age in place? Make changes where it matters most

July 03, 2018 (659 words)

[Headline: Single-story living idea for aging in place]

Having all rooms on a single story is the ideal layout for senior living. That means the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen can be accessed without having to travel to different levels of the home.

Adding a bathroom to facilitate single-story living might seem impossible if you don't have existing drainage. However, with Saniflo, you can add a complete bathroom where no drainage existed before thanks to above-floor plumbing features like a macerating toilet and drain pumps. The Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms and the Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths.

Keep in mind, open-concept designs can be beneficial for seniors, but if you are updating hallways, make sure they are at least 36 inches wide for easy maneuverability.

Fight pregnancy symptoms with these feel-good pregnancy nutrients

July 03, 2018 (679 words)

[Headline: Tips to eat healthy and feel good during pregnancy]

To feel your best and support health during pregnancy, try some of these nutrition tips.

* When morning sickness sets in, taking your prenatal vitamin with food can combat queasiness.

* Weight gain is healthy, but avoid the “eating for two” mindset because excessive weight can lead to complications.

* If you don’t like fish, opt for chia seeds and flaxseed oil, so baby can still get those brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.

* Reach for fruits and veggies. Antioxidants found in dark-colored produce can protect brain tissue from damage.

* While a whole foods diet is best, it can still be a challenge to get all needed nutrients through food alone. Take an assessment at VitaminPacks.com/prepostnatal/ and learn how you can optimize your nutrition.

5 tips for busy women to take charge of their health

July 02, 2018 (694 words)

[Headline: 3 tips for busy women to take charge of their health]

If you’re an American woman today, chances are your busy lifestyle is preventing you from regular check-ups.

So reports a recent HealthiHer survey showing that only 66 percent of U.S. women ages 30 to 60 feel “somewhat in control” of their own health, although 83 percent are happily managing the health of their families. Consider these tips that could help.

* For the sake of others, care for yourself. Maintain your own well-being so you can stay around to be an effective mom, wife, daughter, sister and/or friend.

* Try online resources. Some health issues can be handled through online portals that diagnose issues through questionnaires or video chats, then prescribe therapies.

* Set health care appointments well ahead. That lets you secure the slots that work best with your schedule.

Got stress? Bringing your pet to work can help

June 29, 2018 (516 words)

To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs. Consider these facts based on a recent Purina report about the many advantages of such pets-at-work programs.

They can benefit health. Pet-employee interaction has been shown to reduce the employees' blood pressure and cholesterol levels in addition to alleviating anxiety.

They can improve employee retention. Sixty-three percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces say they’re very satisfied with their work environments — nearly twice as many as those in other workplaces.

They can alleviate loneliness. Eight in 10 employees who can bring pets to work say that activity makes them feel more happy, relaxed and sociable. That's partly because talking about pets can make it easier for people to approach and converse with co-workers.

Back-to-school readiness contributes to your child's academic success

June 28, 2018 (466 words)

[Headline: Set your child up for success this school year]

On that hectic first day of school, it’s easy to overlook the most important meal of the day, especially if sleepy, grumpy kids wake up claiming they’re not hungry.

Don’t let kids opt out when you can opt for easy. Fuel them with a protein-packed breakfast, like a peanut butter and banana smoothie, which is delicious, nutritious and ready in minutes. Mooala’s Original Bananamilk makes a great smoothie base, since it’s organic, plant-based (made from real bananas), dairy-free and has no added sugar.

Kids and teens who eat breakfast are more focused, perform better in school and make healthier food choices.

Additional tips to make a smooth transition back to school:

* Start the bedtime schedule a week before school begins.

* Involve the whole family in meal planning for the week.

* Designate a quiet area as a homework station.

* Use an app to create a family calendar.

* Schedule annual medical exams.

Savvy summer fitness and nutrition tips

June 27, 2018 (797 words)

[Headline: 3 tips for healthy summer fitness and eating]

Explore Mother Nature: If the gym is getting boring or just isn't your style, it's time to find inspiration outdoors. Warmer months are when Mother Nature truly shines. Hike local parks, visit a beach and take a paddleboard class, rent a kayak with a friend and explore a regional river — the opportunities are endless.

Eat a wholesome breakfast: Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner recommends staying fueled with Eggland’s Best eggs. "They are the only eggs with superior nutritional benefits like six times more vitamin D, 25 percent less saturated fat and ten times more vitamin E than ordinary eggs," she says.

Visit the local farmers market: "Seek out fresh fare from your local farmers market and enjoy all the flavors of the season," says Chef Jonathan Poyourow, a registered and licensed dietitian, and assistant professor at Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts.

Stay hydrated this summer and year-round

June 26, 2018 (558 words)

Staying hydrated is a necessity, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell when your body needs water, especially during warmer months. Experts say on average men need 15 cups and women need 11 cups of water per day. Our bodies are about 60 percent water, and just losing 1.5 percent can be the tipping point for mild dehydration. Try these tips to keep yourself well hydrated.

1. Bring a reusable water bottle with you when on the go.

2. Drink good water. Use a filtration system like Culligan's ClearLink PRO, a wireless control system that delivers filtered water from your main faucet with the touch of a button.

3. Establish a hydration routine, like drinking water at the beginning of each hour.

4. Drink water before, during and after a workout.

5. Load up on fruits and veggies that are high in water content.

For more information, visit www.heyculligan.com.

Families find hope for rare genetic brain disorder

June 25, 2018 (543 words)

For most parents, their child’s first steps or words are incredible moments in their lives and a reason to celebrate.

For parents Mike and Lori Cecere, there were times they worried they would never arrive at these milestones. The youngest of their three children, Weston, was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome at 15 months. They were told he would never be able to walk, and the simple things that may seem insignificant to most (like using a straw) may be impossible for him.

Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects between 1 in 12,000 to 20,000 people, is characterized by delayed development, cognitive disability, severe speech impairment and problems with movement and balance.

With the help of research and specialists, Weston learned how to walk, and he can use a straw. These are more than milestones, they are victories that point to a hopeful future for many families.

The surprising health benefits of decluttering

June 25, 2018 (571 words)

[Headline: The surprising health benefits of decluttering]

The effort to declutter can be worthwhile for our homes and for our health.

Getting rid of things you no longer need or want may have a positive effect on mental health and can also make for a safer environment. It’s a sobering fact that every 12 seconds, according to the CDC, someone over age 64 will fall and end up in the emergency room. Decluttering can help keep paths clear and obstacles to a minimum.

A study at Indiana University showed that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses. Regular household chores like vacuuming and washing windows can be great physical activity. A tidy home can also mean we’re more likely to invite people over — prompting interactions that can help alleviate feelings of depression and isolation that can accompany aging.

This item on your table has been eliminating illnesses for years

June 21, 2018 (471 words)

[Headline: Iodine is an essential element for healthy human life]

Iodine is an essential element for healthy human life, enabling the function of thyroid glands to produce needed hormones for proper metabolism. When children in the womb don’t get enough iodine from their mother, fetal brain development is impaired. During pregnancy, iodine deficiency can cause a child to develop learning and intellectual disabilities as well as developmental problems affecting speech, hearing and growth.

Iodine deficiency was a problem in the U.S. as well, until American salt producers started adding iodine to table salt more than a century ago. Today, about 70 percent of the table salt sold in the U.S. is iodized. In fact, salt has been and remains the primary source for iodine in the American diet. The effect of this public health initiative has been to virtually eliminate the incidence of thyroid related illness.

What days are best to conceive?

June 15, 2018 (489 words)

When a couple is planning to have a baby, understanding the 28-day cycle can mean the difference between success and disappointment, says Dr. Gloria Richard-Davis, Ob/Gyn, fertility specialist and author of Planning Parenthood.

Consider the following when trying to conceive:

* A simple at-home ovulation predictor kit like First Response Ovulation Test Kit will identify your two most fertile days by pinpointing a surge in the luteinizing hormone that triggers ovulation.

* Stick to a healthy, well-balanced diet and practice stress relief.

* Prenatal vitamins with sufficient folic acid like prescription OB Complete are critical even before trying to conceive to ensure a healthy pregnancy journey for mom and baby.

Are you doing enough to stay protected against germs?

June 14, 2018 (630 words)

[Headline: A surprising number of people don't wash their hands]

Serious bacteria like staphylococcus (staph), E. coli and others easily spread with hand-to-hand contact. National Handshake Day on June 28 might as well be renamed germ-spreading day!

Washing hands is considered one of the most effective ways to prevent bacteria and viruses from spreading, and prevent illness or infection.

A surprising number of people don’t wash their hands, according to a new survey commissioned by Hibiclens antibacterial soap.

According to the survey of 1,000 American adults:

* 56 percent don’t always wash their hands after covering their mouth when coughing.

* Almost one in six people (18 percent) don’t always wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

* Nearly half, 49 percent of people, don’t always wash their hands after blowing or picking their nose, a place where staph is commonly found in nearly 50 percent of a given population, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information.

Simple, local nutrition: 5 reasons to feel good about the dairy in your diet

June 07, 2018 (403 words)

[Headline: 5 reasons to feel good about the dairy in your diet]

When you sip a wholesome smoothie or savor a slice of cheesy pizza, you’re getting a delicious taste of dairy’s rich tradition. Five more reasons to keep dairy in your diet:

* Dairy is a local business. Most milk is made less than a two-hour drive from where it’s sold, so when you buy milk, yogurt, butter or cheese, you’re supporting local businesses.

* It’s natural. Real milk, cheese and butter taste the most natural because they are the most natural.

* Dairy is simple and affordable. While eating healthy seems to get more and more complicated – and expensive – dairy remains simple and affordable.

* It’s good for young and old alike. Dairy is a top food source for calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

* Dairy packs a protein punch. If you took it from your diet, you’d need to eat up to 30 percent more plant proteins to match the quality of the protein in dairy.

Heartburn help: Try these 6 tips

June 05, 2018 (516 words)

[Headline: Tips to keep heartburn at bay]

To help keep heartburn under control, Dr. Keri Peterson recommends:

1) Be mindful of food choices. Avoid consuming fatty, fried or spicy foods.

2) Opt for smaller meals. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help reduce the chance of heartburn.

3) Consider losing weight. Consider an exercise and diet regimen to improve your health.

4) Check the time. Eating within two to three hours of lying down can lead to heartburn. Avoid lying down for at least two hours after eating.

5) Channel your stress. Try to reduce your stress by doing some light exercise, meditating, getting a good night’s sleep or watching a funny movie to relieve stress through laughter.

6) Be prepared. New store brand Omeprazole Delayed Release Orally Disintegrating Tablets 20 mg. is available for people suffering from heartburn that occurs two or more days per week.

For more information, visit dissolveyourheartburn.com.

5 home-buying tips for first-timers and old-timers

June 04, 2018 (787 words)

Whether buying a first home or looking for an upgrade, there are things you can do to feel more confident as you begin your search.

Consider all costs: The mortgage is not the total cost of your home. It usually only covers principal, interest, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance premiums.

Be flexible but firm: Finding the right home requires a balance of flexibility and finesse. A real estate agent can be of enormous benefit. Use resources to help you find an agent, such as USAA’s Real Estate Rewards Network.

Meet the neighbors: Take time to walk the street and gauge compatibility with the neighbors.

More house is more work: Money for maintenance on a bigger house is money in your pocket at a smaller house that has many of the features you want.

Use your head, not your heart: Take time and think through every aspect of the process.

Tips for talking about Alzheimer's with a family member

June 01, 2018 (584 words)

The Alzheimer’s Association is offering tips to help families facilitate conversations about Alzheimer’s and other dementias:

1. Have the conversation as early as possible — Addressing memory or cognition problems early offers an opportunity to act before a crisis occurs.

2. Think about who’s best suited to initiate the conversation — Consider a family member, close friend or trusted adviser.

3. Practice conversation starters — Be thoughtful in your approach.

4. Offer your support and companionship — Let them know you’re willing to accompany them to the doctor.

5. Anticipate gaps in self-awareness —Be prepared to navigate confusion, denial and withdrawal.

6. Recognize the conversation may not go as planned — Unless it’s a crisis, don’t force the conversation. Take a step back, regroup and revisit the subject in a week or two.

For more information, visit alz.org.

Are you a caregiver? Try these 7 resources

May 31, 2018 (599 words)

[Headline: Resources for caregivers]

Regardless of the circumstances that lead someone to assume the role of a caregiver, and whether they do so willingly, out of a sense of obligation or a mix of both, one thing is certain: Caregivers need and deserve support as they navigate a demanding, emotional and critical responsibility.

The good news is there are resources and services available to help make life as a caregiver a bit easier:

* The National Family Caregiver Support Program

* AARP’s Caregiver Resource Center

* Administration for Community Living

* UnitedHealthcare’s Solutions for Caregivers program

* The National Alliance for Caregiving

* The Caregiver Action Network

* The Eldercare Locator

A healthier, happier summer starts with these tips

May 30, 2018 (636 words)

Summer is the perfect time to start your resolution to live a healthier life, and your path to success begins with these tips.

* Take up an active, outdoor hobby. Whether it’s running, walking, gardening or swimming, all can help you burn calories, improve muscle mass and have fun.

* Start your day off right. Eating right doesn’t mean you have to spend an hour at the table. A quick spread of Arla Cream Cheese on a bagel or toast is a quick, nutritious way to start your day off on the right foot. Give it a try and you'll find an entirely new breakfast routine.

* Grab some shades. Invest in a good pair of shades capable of blocking at least 99 percent of all ultraviolet A and B rays. Then make sure you wear them when you’re outdoors.

5 ways to help Dad out

May 30, 2018 (559 words)

[Headline: 3 simple ways to help Dad save time]

Supporting Dad can make a big difference all year long, helping to reduce stress, save time and promote self-care. What can you do for the man who seems to do it all?

Think proactive: Help him start the day on the right foot by prepping the family the evening before. Choose outfits, pack backpacks, prepare lunches and get all after-school activity gear organized before the family goes to bed.

Meal planning: Consider taking a day or two each week and cooking for the family. If you have older kids, consider having them take on one day a week as part of their weekly chores.

Smart technology: The LG Electronics USA – LG WK7 ThinQ Speaker with Google Assistant Built-In has high-fidelity audio capabilities thanks to Meridian Audio’s technology. Plus, with Google Assistant he'll stay organized!

Easy and breezy: 6 tips for controlling summer cooling costs

May 29, 2018 (497 words)

[Headline: Easy and breezy: 6 tips for controlling summer cooling costs]

As Americans gear up for summer fun, they’re also concerned with how to save money while keeping their homes comfortably cool. The following tips might help.

* Use your ceiling fan to keep yourself cool.

* Tune up your heating and cooling system annually and change filters every three months to keep your system running efficiently. Optimize attic insulation to keep your home temperature even and comfortable.

* Use double- or triple-layered heavy curtains to keep the sun from unnecessarily heating your rooms.

* Optimize your heating and air conditioning use via a Wi-Fi-enabled, ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat.

* Use up to 80 percent less energy by cooking with a microwave oven instead of traditional oven or stove.

* Air-dry your clothes since dryers can take up to 80 percent of the energy you use for your laundry.

Think you're too old to quit smoking? Think again

May 25, 2018 (554 words)

Even as overall smoking rates have declined, the rate has hardly budged among those 65 and older, according to America’s Health Rankings. Nearly 9 percent of adults aged 65 and older were regular smokers in 2017, meaning more than 4 million older adults could benefit from kicking the habit.

Common misconceptions about smoking and older adults persist, including:

Misconception: After smoking for decades, quitting won’t make much of a difference to someone’s health.

Truth: Quitting smoking later in life can reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, according to Everyday Health. And people who quit in their 60s are likely to live longer than those who continue to smoke. Additionally, the CDC says, stopping smoking can benefit most major parts of your body — including improving blood flow to help wounds heal properly, and even keeping hearing and night vision sharp.

Eating right and staying healthy in retirement

May 24, 2018 (376 words)

In a recent paper titled “Salt Appetite Across Generations,” Israeli researchers from the University of Haifa indicated that among seniors, a reduced sense of thirst could increase the risk of serious dehydration. They also noted that the appetite for salt does not diminish with age, and suggested that this could be used to help sustain hydration and prevent the dangerous symptoms that result from dehydration.

Another study published in the American Journal of Hypertension identified significant risks to cardiovascular health and longevity from consuming less than 1, or more than 3 teaspoons of salt per day. Fortunately, most Americans, including seniors, when left to their own choice consume right in the middle of this range.

Low-salt diets can also cause seniors to suffer from mild hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance in the blood that can lead directly to walking impairment, attention deficits and a much higher frequency of falls.

The busy parent's guide to weekday meals

March 27, 2018 (563 words)

Hectic can be an understatement when it comes to describing a day in the life of a parent. These simple tips can save time and energy when preparing meals.

1. Get in the habit of meal planning. Planning a weekly menu can save a huge amount of time and stress. It streamlines the whole process.

2. Embrace convenience. Takeout is great, but there are even better options. With Applebee's Carside To Go(R) pickup you simply place an order online then pull into a designated parking spot and a team member will bring your food out to you.

3. Don’t try to imitate the chefs on TV. We would all love to cook like those celebrity chefs, but don’t hold yourself to impossible standards. If you want to wow your family with culinary masterpieces, consider some quick and easy takeout options.

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